Is Zoetermeer a young municipality? That is both true and false. True, when it comes to the current size of the city. Not true, when it comes to its place in the history books and the existence of a municipality named Zoetermeer.

Zoetermeer is a city emphatically concerned with the present and with the future. A culture that stems from the gigantic building tasks the city has faced over the past decades. And this is still happening, as can be seen in the latest district Oosterheem.

Eye for the past

That does not mean that Zoetermeer does not have an eye for the past. Before 1100, there was already a fishing village of Zoetermeer. In the 1960s to the present, the butter village of that time grew into the city we know today. That history is too fascinating to forget.

History at the City Archives

You will find the history of Zoetermeer in the archives and collections of the City Archives. This forms the memory of the city, so to speak.

Zoetermeer, history in a nutshell

Zoetermeer is one of the Netherlands' growth centers. The city's history has many highlights. They give an impression of Zoetermeer's recent history.

More about the history of Zoetermeer 

Zoetermeer then and now on the map

Compare the Zoetermeer of 1850 with today.

Map of Zoetermeer

The oldest document

The oldest record in Zoetermeer dates from 1504. It is a book in which the village administrators give an account of financial management.

More on the oldest document

Craftsmen and craft lordship

Amt fiefdom dates back to the Middle Ages. An amt fiefdom was an area in which the local lord could exercise jurisdiction in addition to all kinds of privileges. Zoetermeer also had an amt fiefdom at an early date. Most of the rights have disappeared in recent centuries. What remained are the property rights, such as fishing, ownership of water and the use of a lord's pew in the church. The present amtachtsheer owns some historic water in Zoetermeer such as the Voorwegwetering and part of the Grote Dobbe and thus owns the fishing rights. The family coats of arms of the 18th-century craftsmen adorn the gentlemen's bench in the Oude Kerk at Dorpsstraat.

More about the artisan fiefdom

Zoetermeer surnames

Zoetermeer surnames in history.

Overview of the names

Panorama from the Buytenpark

From the northernmost hill in the Buytenpark, a magnificent panorama unfolds over the surroundings of Zoetermeer. Here you look out over the Randstad, the polders and the Green Heart. From this spot you can see how the various developments in nature and culture are intertwined. The past 1000 years have changed the landscape considerably. This provides a wealth of historical stories. A panorama board has been developed to visualize these historical stories.

Ten themes are provided with pictograms and short stories. They provide more information about 1000 years of Zoetermeer. The Geuzen bicycle tour (Zoetermeer 1000 foundation) and the Zoetermeer Panorama walk 'Grasduinen door Zoetermeer' (Floravontuur) are examples.

The panoramic sign was made possible by: municipality of Zoetermeer, Historical Society Oud Soetermeer, Floravontuur Promotie Zoetermeer, Zoetermeer 1000 Foundation, Arno van Berge Henegouwen & Ruud Hisgen (Direct Dutch), Blomsma Print & Sign Zoetermeer, Daallin BV Grond- weg- en waterbouw.

Historical Society of Old Soetermeer

For historical information about Zoetermeer, you can also visit: